Gov. Dave Heineman congratulated state employees who successfully completed the Walk This Way program, which is one of several wellness options available to state workers as part of the State of Nebraska's wellness program. Employees and spouses completing the challenge were invited to join the Governor for group photos in the State Capitol Rotunda.
During the past year, Walk This Way participants were challenged to increase their physical activity by logging at least 700,000 steps by March 29. Out of the total of 5,800 employees and spouses enrolled in the Walk This Way program, 80% achieved this goal.
"The Walk This Way program is a successful part of our state wellness program that benefits state employees and their families," said Gov. Heineman. "It also contributes toward the culture of wellness we are building here at the State of Nebraska. I congratulate everyone who met and went beyond the initial goal."
The total number of steps logged by all participants the first year of the Walk This Way program equated to over 2 million miles, or roughly 82 times around the earth's circumference. This year, the total distance logged by participants is 104 times around earth's circumference.
For the fourth year in a row, Gov. Heineman has increased his total steps from 2 million the first year to 4.7 million this year.
Approximately 2,000 state workers and their spouses logged at least 1 million steps; 750 people reached 2 million steps; 350 logged more than 3 million steps; 200 people logged 4 million or more steps; 100 reached 5 million or more steps; 15 have logged more than 6 million steps and 10 have logged 7 million. Aaron Kurtzhals from the Department of Corrections was the top achiever for the second year in a row with over 10 million steps logged.
Started in 2009, the state wellness program was the first of its kind among states to offer an integrated plan for health insurance that ties to wellness, disease prevention, early detection and healthier lifestyles. Employees and covered spouses can choose from a variety of wellness programs, in addition to an annual health assessment and screening designed to help participants make healthier lifestyle choices, become aware of risk factors and better manage chronic conditions. Over 9,000 employees and spouses have enrolled in one or more wellness programs, which is 20% higher than the previous year.
As a result of wellness program efforts and outcomes, the State of Nebraska is demonstrating a strong example for others to follow by earning several prestigious national awards - the 2010 and 2012 Gold Well Workplace by the Wellness Council of America, Innovations Award from The Council of State Governments. Recently, the State of Nebraska became the first state to earn the coveted C. Everett Koop National Health Award, which has the most stringent requirements for demonstrating health improvements and cost savings.